It’s Bucky!

Buckypaper is now on its way to becoming a reality for consumer products, according to the Florida State University.  Personally the idea of super strong carbon paper is only somewhat interesting.  While the name makes sense, B. Fuller’s name still just gives me the giggles.  It’s just that funny – I can’t take the nickname ‘bucky’ seriously.  But who says science can’t be full of play?

The whole thing brings back childhood memories.  My aunt and uncle had a variety of toys from various grandchildren and other relatives.  One particular favorite at a young age was a white horse with wheels and a blue mane.  Its red saddle had a secret compartment for storing ‘things’, and it would rise in the middle as you scooted across the floor on its back.  The name of this plastic horse, of course, was Bucky.

You might wonder what a plastic horse and a Utopian idealist have in common.  But really it is the idea of what they inspire, that sense of wonder and fun and joy that I find remarkable.  True, Bucky the plastic horse is not an adult toy.  True, Fuller did not have the lasting impact on a variety of fields that he had intended.  But both represent something worth saving for the future, whether as a joy for future childhoods or as an example of the things we all should be thinking about – namely, how our own individual lives will impact the world for good.

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4 Comments

  1. Brandon Lacy said,

    October 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Technology like this is being created and evolving every single day. There has never been a more productive time in modern history. Concurrently, there has been a drive to suppress such advancements. I like to refer to this drive as “greed.” For example, you mean to tell me that the over 100 year old internal combustion engine is still the best way to power transportation (cars)? Yeah right. Also, I have a cell phone that is as powerful as a computer from 5 years ago. Yet the technology that we use for batteries is the same technology that was found in the pyramids. To say it another way – if you didn’t need to buy batteries as often as you currently do what would happen to the battery industry? My point is that as fast as technologies such as nanotubes are developed greed is more than successful in suppressing it.

  2. Rudy Wojtecki said,

    October 21, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I think this article just adds to the hype when it comes to nanocomposites. This paper only makes mention of the potential mechanical strength, but only describes this buckypaper to have actually delivered a fraction of the strength. That is what makes this article hype, it would be truly impressive to have a material that delivered the full potential. This material does not and you can find countless examples like that in the scientific literature. Maybe in another ten years. Most people that work in nancomposites realize the potential of these materials but make a clear distinction between target properties and actual material properties. Also what makes this hype is being able to produce carbon nanotubes on a massive scale for something like the aerospace industry, now nanotubes (high quality) have only been produced on the gram scale.

    And Brandon’s comment is based on a false impression of emerging technology because he doesn’t realize technology like this isn’t being created every day, it happens incredibly slowly and research like this takes time. So his point is moot.

    Also, Sumio Iijima discovered the nanotube at NEC not while he was at ASU.

  3. Shelly said,

    October 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Whoa, that is like some serious comments. I only wanted to put in my two cents to say I LOVE BUCKY!!!! 🙂 Hee

  4. Christopher Chamberlain said,

    October 22, 2008 at 12:09 am

    This is fantastic news. The possibilities are endless… No doubt our space elevator will be made of this stuff. I wonder how well it fares as body armor. if it’s 500 times stronger than steel and 10 times lighter, it may be a great alternative to conventional heavy body armor!


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